Foreign Ministry Archives open again?

I haven't tried to go myself, but I received a report from a friend in January 2017 claiming it was open.

The gist of the report is that the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archive re-opened on December 1, 2016. However, only the fonds of two Foreign Ministry departments are apparently available: the protocol department (117) and the international organizations division (113). Other fonds are still undergoing review. In addition, the archive is not providing any printing services.

Other tidbits: you have to have a letter of introduction, which will get you into the archive for a period of three months. Foreign scholars are still welcome.

My friend was not the direct source of this info. He learned this from someone else via WeChat. I thought about just pasting the 1,000 character report I received here, but I'm not sure how the author of the report would feel about that. If you would like to see it, please get in touch with me directly.

Take this for what it's worth since I can't confirm any of the information directly.

Chuck Kraus

Hello everyone,

Does anyone have an update on access to the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archive and does the current situation still match the information Chuck was given (above)?


Jon Howlett

The situation remains the same at least until mid-July this year. I did not try to go myself but heard that from Chinese scholars. I am not sure if things have changed since.

Dongxin Zou

Hi Jon,

The Wilson Center posted an update from Ph.D. candidate Kazushi Minami just two days ago:

"China’s Foreign Ministry Archive: Open or Closed?"

The short answer seems to be that it hasn't changed for the better, requiring a bit more effort to see documents than it did several years ago and offering many fewer, but it is still technically "open."

All best,

Thanks very much for the responses and the links - a very useful summary.



Re: Foreign Ministry Archives open again?
From personal knowledge: The central government issued a "no visit or use" order to ALL archives because of the Russian government attempt to open all Russian files for inspection.